As I was heading into my one o’clock class Friday afternoon, I got a text that sent me into panic mode: our papers were completely gone from some of their distribution boxes.
That doesn’t just happen one day after publication, especially at a student newspaper on a small campus.
I could barely focus in my class (sorry Dr. Lucas!) as I started to work out what we should do next. We looked up information from the Student Press Law Center and began trying to calculate how many papers were taken.
After my class ended at 1:50 p.m., I walked around campus to check every distribution box I could find. I was constantly texting pictures to our managing editor, Sydney Deibert, and our adviser, Professor Kelly Messinger.
My heart sank when I saw the papers missing from boxes in Yochum, the Student Union, Saylor-Ackermann and the Cap Center, but then I checked the nearby trash cans and my sadness turned to anger. Over 700 papers in the trash.
Not only did someone take entire stacks of the newspaper from people who might want to read them, they also tossed our hard work in the trash as if it was worthless.
Maybe you’re saying to yourself “this isn’t a big deal,” and maybe you’re wondering why we’re so upset, so I’ll explain.
The entire staff of less than 15 students works hours upon hours each week to make this newspaper happen. Between writing, editing, website building, photography, and designing the physical pages of the print edition, a majority of our staff members spend most of their week crafting the newspaper for the campus community. Many of them voluntarily take on these roles on top of work, school and other commitments.
Some weeks it feels like it’s not going to happen, but somehow we always pull through, and the papers appear in news stands the next morning.
As one of the students in charge of the paper, I know that we aren’t perfect. Whether it be a misspelling or a factual error, sometimes we mess up. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard to create a newspaper that’s informative and entertaining, or that we don’t care about the community we write for. It means we’re human.
Maybe it doesn’t always seem like it, but we truly care about this university and everyone in it. Sometimes, when you care about someone you have to tell them things they don’t want to hear. We don’t report on certain things to upset people or stir the pot, we do it because that’s our job.
It is clear to me that something in last week’s edition of the paper upset someone. Whoever did this made that very clear by flipping the papers in the display sleeves to show the last page instead of the front.
What happened last week will not change my course as editor-in-chief of the Chimes. We will continue to tell it like it is–even if it makes people uncomfortable–because that’s what we’re supposed to do.
If you have any suggestions for how we can better do our job, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally or through our main email, firstname.lastname@example.org.